The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) was raised from 13 to 14 by the US Department of Energy. The regulation applies only to states in the Southwest. What’s more the regulation is aimed only at manufacturers. Customers and service providers will ultimately benefit from the regulation.
Essentially, a SEER rating is to your AC unit as miles per gallon is to your car. The higher the rating the more efficient the unit, and thus, less energy is required to produce the same results. Although the SEER rating was raised to 14, units exist with SEER ratings exceeding 20. These highly efficiency units are the hybrids of the cooling world. They will no doubt lower your monthly energy bill, and run quieter and more efficiently. Although a high SEER rating generally means a better AC unit, improper installation will always result an inefficient, wasteful unit.
Effect on Manufacturers, Consumers, and Service Providers
The regulation implemented by the U.S. Department of Energy only holds that manufacturers can no longer produce AC units with SEER rating lower than 14. It does not require that consumers follow suit by only purchasing and installing AC units with a minimum SEER rating of 14. What’s worth noting is that the regulation comes with an 18 month grace period, during which manufacturers can sell AC units with a SEER rating below 14. No doubt, manufacturers will be forced to discount this inventory in order to move it before the deadline approaches. Also, consumers can expect used AC units with a SEER rating below 14 to be sold at a discounted price. Service providers will ultimately reap the greatest benefit. They will gain more business from the shift in AC units that is likely to occur.